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The Lord of the Rings Paperback – August 14, 2012
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"One of the great fairy-tale quests in modern literature"
From the Back Cover
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.
From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.
When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.
The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.
J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), beloved throughout the world as the creator of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was in the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but while he studied classic works of the past, he was creating a set of his own.
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For those who care about such things, the printing is based on the 2004 corrected text, with even further corrections. There are updated introductions/forwards by Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull, authors of the authoritative "LOTR Readers Companion," as well as by Douglas A. Anderson, who provides a detailed publication history of the Lord of the Rings. The full appendices are included.
Two-page red and black maps of Middle Earth and of Gondor/Rohan/Mordor adorn the front and back covers, with a map of the Shire before the first chapter. Also present are other essentials such as the Doors of Moria and the Tomb of Balin. The only drawback is that the facsimile pages of the Book of Mazarbul was not included, which I found to be surprising and a bit disappointing Also, the ring inscription and the Gandalf "rune" are printed in black rather than silver and red. Probably the main issue is the clear plastic slipcover, which is barely bigger than the book itself, and it is difficult to slip the book back inside it after taking it out. You are more likely to scuff the corners of the book. That being said, these are far from dealbreakers, and the joy to be received from owning this edition far outweighs these issues.
I'll keep it brief, this is not a review of the actual story but of this specific edition. I have attached many pictures that I hope help you decide if this is an edition you want to buy.
- The font is big and easy to read.
- 65 beautiful illustrations by Alan Lee that bring the story to life.
- Slipcover is an opaque plastic, whit a modern look that I think doesn't complement the book.
- One or two blank pages before and/or after each illustration.
Overall I think this is a great edition and it's worth buying.
If I ever figure out how to add a picture to a review I will take a picture of my first copy of this book, the paperback version of the 50th anniversary edition, and add it to this review. It is split completely in half, the spine is ripped almost entirely off, and there are pages trying desperately to escape the confines of the super industrial-strength rubber band holding everything intact. (FYI: Do not try to use hot glue to reattach sections of a book back to a book's spine. It does not work.) I truly believe if potential readers could see how well-used my book is from all the times I've read it those readers would be frantically hitting the One-Click Purchase button on Amazon.
Of course, if seeing my beautifully wrecked paperback didn't convince them to read it, then maybe the fact that I eventually had to replace it with the same edition, only hardcover, would do it. Or the fact that for those times I just can't lug around the real deal, I also had to download the ebook (though a different edition which my OCD thinks sorta sucks).
In an interview with Christopher Lee, the actor who portrayed Saruman in the Peter Jackson film adaptations, he shared how he re-reads The Lord of the Rings each year. If I could get you to read it even once in your life I would be happy. And so would you!
P.S. For those people who think video games are the root of all evil, I would have to beg them to make an exception for an Xbox game called Shadow of Mordor. Now, I know diddly squat about gaming but my hubby and our son play that game together. Imagine my thrill when my 10 year old came asking all kinds of questions that had us mining the appendices at the end of the book for answers. He's not up for reading the book just yet, but the spark is there. Of course, it didn't hurt that I earned some massive cool points for knowing what was going on in his game world!